Awesome WesKids doing awesome stuff about an awesome cause in an awesome place. Six months ago.
In late November 2012, three WesKids, Samantha Santaniello ’13, Sophie Duncan ’13. and Chloe Holden ’15 went with Professor Michael Dorsey to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in Doha, Qatar (that’s in the Persian Gulf, which is in the Middle East, for the geographically challenged). There they helped Professor Dorsey with his research, kept a pretty informative blog for the College of the Environment, witnessed firsthand the wrangling of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as part of the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18), learned a bunch of acronyms, and generally did “a lot of typing.”
Shortly after they returned to Wes, just in time for Fall finals week, I sat down with them to talk about their thoughts on the conference, the future of climate changed, and generally speaking exactly how screwed we all are. Enjoy!
pyrotechnics: I’ve been reading your blog. How successful do you think the conference was?
Sam: It was completely unsuccessful. The only thing that is really being discussed further is loss and damage which is really important for small island states and less developed countries. Loss of coastlines and stuff in Africa. That will hopefully be negotiated at the next conference. But yeah, everything is pretty bleak.
Sophie: It’s hard to say whether such as big conference with so many different goals is successful or unsuccessful. I would say they failed to meet the very low expectations that were set or the achievements they wanted. They failed to create any sort of significant agreement that would be legally binding or include really high-polluting countries like the US or Canada.
Chloe: It wasn’t the goal of this conference to create a legally binding agreement but you could talk to people who walked away from it with very specific agendas, like people who are involved in accountability measures; there was progress in that, in little areas. Overall, in the negotiations as a whole, across recent years, doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.
Sam: Obviously the small island states and less developed countries were very important and with their agenda they called for a five-year second commitment period and they ended up with eight because the EU and a lot of the negotiation coalitions with more political clout were able to get what they wanted as opposed to the small island states who really needed it, because this is a huge threat to them.